Toxteth Street CPO Confirmed
SAVE has been informed that the Compulsory Purchase Order for 520 houses in Toxteth Street, East Manchester has been confirmed by the Secretary of State. The news comes as a bitter disappointment both to SAVE and residents who have been fighting plans for demolition. The comprehensive redevelopment scheme has been funded by government's controversial Housing Market Renewal (Pathfinder) Initiative.
In October 2008, SAVE appeared at the CPO Inquiry opposing the plans by Manchester City Council and its regeneration arm, New East Manchester, for the purchase, demolition and redevelopment of the houses. SAVE argued that comprehensive redevelopment was unjustified, damaging and deeply wasteful, and that residents had never been presented with a serious scheme for retention and refurbishment of the existing buildings
SAVE commissioned alternative proposals from Mark Hines Architects, showing how the existing late Victorian terraced houses could be refurbished and re-modelled to provide a range of new accommodation, whilst preserving the community and historic street pattern.
During the inquiry, Manchester City Council, and its partner developer Lovell Partnerships, failed consistently to produce costings for redevelopment plans and admitted they had not properly considered the environmental costs of demolition.
SAVE is therefore surprised to find that the Secretary of State has not questioned the viability of the redevelopment scheme. We are of the opinion that, in the current financial climate, the economics of the project simply do not add up and that, in light of this, the CPO should not have been approved.
SAVE and remaining residents now fear that the area will be cleared and abandoned until some time in the future when redevelopment will become viable. It is SAVE's view that if, at the outset, the Council chosen to channel its resources into a refurbishment scheme the area could have been transformed long ago.
SAVE intends to examine the inspector's report in detail to decide whether to mount a legal challenge. In the meantime, it is hoped that, in light of the economic downturn, Manchester City Council will amend the redevelopment proposals to include retention of the existing houses.